Someone I know recently made a comment regarding the institutions suddenly giving the Baha’is permission to participate in protests. Of course, this set me off a little, but after thinking about it for a while I realized it was important to address the argument for anyone who is confused in any way. Of course, this is just my own banter – you are a noble, spiritual, entity and capable of making your own informed decisions.
First point is: the House of Justice, nor any of the Institutions of the Faith tell us what to do. They provide us with guidance, and if you’re smart, you’ll study it and then act on it quickly. You are an individual responsible only to God. Any decision you choose to make is of your own accord. However, as a member of an organized body of people representing a particular Cause, you have chosen to submit to the provisions, principles, and guidelines of that body. One of the strongest aspects of the Baha’i Faith is it’s collective sense of integrity; if anything, our institutions are there to maintain our integrity as a people.
Now specifically regarding the upcoming rallies on the 25th, the House of Justice sent out a follow-up letter to the Baha’is that I believe is very important. It states, among other things, two fundamental points:
1) “Baha’is may generally feel free to lend their support to this event by participating in it as individuals. Should they be invited to sign related petitions, they may also do so, provided the wording is non-partisan in character.”
2) “Believers who choose to participate in this and other such demonstrations should, however, be sensitive to the fact that in certain countries and in particular situations the event could assume a partisan political character, notwithstanding the original intent of the organizers. In such a circumstance, believers would of course not participate or, if the event assumes such a character after it has begun, should tactfully withdraw.”
So, in light of my dear friends’ uninformed remark, the position of the Baha’is has not changed and we should be clear about that if we choose to participate.
For instance, at many of these demonstrations people are continuing to display the color green, which although harmless in and of itself, still represents (as far as I know) a political parties’ ambitions. A political party who’s leader has a history of opposition to the Faith.
And for the Baha’is in Halifax, this demonstration falls on the first day of a week of Baha’i teaching activities. To tell you the truth, as exciting and eventful as this protest may be, I think our purpose is better served diffusing the Message of Baha’u’llah: a message that would place the needs of all of humanity upon the same pedestal as the peoples of Iran. We are lucky to have so many loud, and powerful voices to rally people to an important human rights issue in Iran. Many other atrocities are taking place the world over, and unfortunately their voices are dimly heard in the background.
So, if you do choose to attend the rallies make sure that your stance is clear. Oppression, of any kind, in any place, by any group is unacceptable. The only way to overcome any of these global ills is to labour tirelessly in the path of God for Unity.
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” – Baha’u’llah